Stringent selection, difficult service conditions, other lucrative careers may be reasons: Antony

The armed forces are facing a shortage of over 13,000 officers and 53,700 personnel below the rank of officers, Defence Minister A.K. Antony said on Monday.

The Army accounts for much of the shortage, he said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.

“Some of the major reasons for vacancies in the armed forces are accretion in force level from time to time, availability of multiple and lucrative alternative career avenues with the growth of the nation’s economy, stringent selection criteria and difficult service conditions coupled with a perceived high degree of risk.”

The break-up

Giving details of vacancies, he said while the Army was short of 10,100 officers till July this year, the shortage of Personnel Below Officers Rank stood at 32,431 till September.

The Navy was facing a shortage of 1,996 officers, and 14,310 sailors till September-end.

In the Air Force, the shortage of officers was put at 962, while the requirement of airmen till December was around 7,000, the Minister said.

On steps taken to encourage youth to join the armed forces, Mr. Antony said: “These include implementation of the recommendations of the Sixth Central Pay Commission with improved pay structure, additional family accommodation through the Married Accommodation Project and improvement in promotion prospects.”

On the number of cadets passing out of various academies, he said the total was 9,001 since 2010.

Premature retirement

At the same time, 10,822 service personnel took premature retirement this year alone, the Army accounting for 10,081, the Navy 170 and the Air Force 571. Last year, the figures were 10,603, 157 and 1,000.

More In: National | News